Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Remembering Thomas S. Schattenfield, Former Legal Aid Board President

Tom SchattenfieldLegal Aid mourns the loss of former Legal Aid Board President, Thomas S. Schattenfield, who passed away on August 19, 2014, at the age of 87. Tom was a retired partner of the law firm of Arent Fox (1961-2000) who, prior to joining the firm, served as assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of Ohio.  Tom was deeply committed to public service. He served as Legal Aid Board President 1996 to 1998, and also helped lead the pro bono section at Arent Fox. Tom’s efforts as a Legal Aid Board member and president has had a lasting impact on Legal Aid – shaping it into the robust organization it is today – which serves thousands of vulnerable D.C. residents every year. We are grateful to Tom for all that he has done to make justice real for our community.

Tom is survived by his wife, Judith, seven children, and ten grandchildren. Tom’s memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 27 at 2:00 PM at Normandy Farms in Potomac, Maryland.

Other former Legal Aid Board Presidents who served on the Board with Tom also shared their remembrances:

“Tom was the first person I met at Legal Aid, since I joined the board and the executive committee while he was president. The phrase I remember Tom using over and over again was that it was time for us to ‘break the mold,’ meaning that it was high time to realize that Legal Aid could be, and needed to be, much more than it was and that we needed to work hard and think outside the box. Tom was simply not satisfied with the status quo. Moreover, he had a force of nature personality that perfectly suited him to be a change agent. Legal Aid has come a long way in the nearly two decades since Tom’s presidency. He deserves great credit for starting us on the path to where we are today.” Phil Horton

“By the time Tom became president in 1996, I was a member of the executive committee of the board, so I witnessed Tom’s vision for Legal Aid first hand. At that time, Legal Aid was still small and was yet to make the major technology transitions, funding breakthroughs, and resulting staff expansion that characterized its next decade. Tom’s vision was very clear and succinct: ‘We need to shake things up,’ I vividly recall him saying.  And shake things up he did. Tom laid much of the groundwork for the transition of the Legal Aid of the 1990s (on all) fronts into the Legal Aid of the next decade and beyond.” Tom Papson

Thomas S. Schattenfield Obituary from the Washington Post

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